In the spirit of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, Bringing up B?b?, and The Smartest Kids in the World, a hard-hitting exploration of China?s widely acclaimed yet insular education system?held up as a model of excellence?that raises important questions for the future of American parenting and education.When American mom Lenora Chu moved to China with her little boy, she faced a tough decision. China produced some of the world?s top academic achievers, and just down the street from her home in Shanghai was THE school, as far as elite Chinese were concerned. Should Lenora entrust her rambunctious young son to the system?So began Rainey?s immersion in one of the most extreme school systems on the planet. Almost immediately, the three-year-old began to develop surprising powers of concentration, became proficient in early math, and learned to obey his teachers? every command. Yet Lenora also noticed disturbing new behaviors: Where he used to scribble and explore, Rainey grew obsessed with staying inside the lines. He became fearful of authority figures, and also developed a habit of obeisance outside of school. ?If you want me to do it, I?ll do it,? he told a stranger who?d asked whether he liked to sing. What was happening behind closed classroom doors? Driven by parental anxiety, Lenora embarked on a journalistic mission to discover: What price do the Chinese pay to produce their ?smart? kids? How hard should the rest of us work to stay ahead of the global curve? And, ultimately, is China?s school system one the West should emulate? She pulls the curtain back on a military-like education system, in which even the youngest kids submit to high-stakes tests, and parents are crippled by the pressure to compete (and sometimes to pay bribes). Yet, as mother-and-son reach new milestones, Lenora uncovers surprising nuggets of wisdom, such as the upside of student shame, how competition can motivate achievement, and why a cultural belief in hard work over innate talent gives the Chinese an advantage.Lively and intimate, beautifully written and reported, Little Soldiers challenges our assumptions and asks us to reconsider the true value and purpose of education.